The problem with the United States is that we don't have nearly enough holidays celebrating underwhelming military victories. If France can make a national holiday out of the storming of a virtually empty prison and Mexico can celebrate not being invaded by the French (you know, people that spend their time storming empty prisons), then surely America has a couple of noteworthy days in our bellicose history that are worth taking off work.
I hereby propose Paul Revere Day on April 18, featuring gifts of silver, horse rides, lantern parties and hiding from any British friends; Rough Riders Day on July 1 (eff it, let's take the whole week off), where we eat Cuban sandwiches, play Red Rover and listen to early 2000s hits by DMX, Jadakiss and Eve; and Battle of New Orleans Day on Jan. 8, which will be a lamer version of Mardi Gras in the same way that the War of 1812 was a second, lamer version of the Revolutionary War, with the addition of a dramatic reading of the Treaty of Ghent.
Until Congress gets around to officially adding these crucial holidays, Americans will just have to continue to celebrate other cultures' big days. So don't put away your red, white and blue from Independence Day, just rearrange them into the French Tricolour and get ready for Bastille Day on Saturday.
Start the fête early by heading to Philippe Restaurant + Lounge for its first-ever Bastille Day party, running from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and featuring light bites, wine and music by The Gypsies. Don't forget to wear your red, white and blue; tickets are $50.
From there head to 13 Celsius, where the Bastille Day party starts at 4 p.m. Look for specials on Kir Royales as well as some great bottles of French wine, plus music and movies from the motherland.
The Consulate General of France in Houston is throwing a fête starting at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston with the French-American Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance Française of Houston, the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts and Houston Accueil. Entry is free but tickets must be picked up beforehand at the consulate or the Alliance Française.
Several French restaurants around Houston are preparing special menus or celebrations. Check out the rouge, blanc and bleu three-course menu at Bistro Provence, the special fare at the remodeled and reopened Chez Nous in Humble, or enjoy a complimentary cocktail with dinner from Au Petit Paris.
For an authentic French experience, the French-speaking Meetup group Les Rendez-Vous de la Francophonie is hosting a special five-course meal at Artisans featuring Gallic food and wine. Tickets are $65 for RVF members and $77 for non-members. There's also a special Bastille Day four-course menu at Up Restaurant featuring French classics from steak tartare and duck a l'orange to souffles for $55 per person.
Or if all you need is a quick French treat, Sweet Paris Creperie is debuting a new Marie Antoinette crepe on Saturday, made of mascarpone cheese, fresh raspberries and Chambord liquor topped with raspberry coulis. Vive la France!